Australian doctors are being assured their patients will benefit if they adopt a diet that's free of meat.
An Australian-first scientific research review, published in the Medical Journal of Australia today, has found vegetarians receive more health benefits than risks from their plant-based diet.
The Journal examined deficiencies traditionally thought to affect those who have adopted a vegetarian diet and found they were receiving adequate levels of protein, iron and zinc.
Nutritionist Rosemary Stanton, who has written an accompanying editorial to the research papers, says the scientific evidence shows a well-planned, plant-based diet can meet the nutritional needs of adults and children.
"The evidence is quite good that people who follow a vegetarian diet are likely to have less heart disease, less colorectal cancer, less type-2 diabetes and they're less likely to be obese," she said.
While those who don't eat fish may be receiving less omega-3 fatty acids than considered desirable, the study also found vegetarians do not exhibit signs of a clinical deficiency.